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Washington Week

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Romney 6, Barack Obama 5, Obama 5, Washington 5, Mitt Romney 5, Us 3, Jackie 3, Pbs 3, Norfolk 2, Ohio 2, Wisconsin 2, Florida 2, Gwen Ifill 2, John 2, Paul Ryan 2, George W. Bush 2, Pennsylvania 2, Georgia 1, Southeast Ohio 1, Europe 1,
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  PBS    Washington Week    News/Business.   
   (2012)  (CC) (Stereo)  

    November 3, 2012
    2:30 - 3:00am EDT  

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>> countdown, where the race stands as it enters the last weekend. what happens when all of the ads stop? tonight on "washington week." >> four more years! four more years! four more years! gwen: the candidate's final pitch. who really owns hope and change? >> the question of this election comes down to this -- do you want more of the same or do you want real change and we want real change. >> we know what change looks like. and what the governor's offering ain't it. gwen: the polls can't predict it. the crowds can't guarantee it and even the early voters can't. >> it ended in the great
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recession of 2008. >> we know what this movie looks like at the end of the movie. turn on the tv and look at europe. >> a toss-up election, complete with its own october surprise. unpredictable, political embraces. >> if they need something, we figure out a way to say yes. >> i cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state. gwen: then today, 171,000 new jobs adds to mostly good economic news. now, it's up to you. covering the week jackie comes of the "new york times." john harwood of cnbc and the "new york times" and amy walter of abc news. >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it
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happens. live from our nation's capital, this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. produced in association with national journal. corporate funding is provided by -- >> we know why we're here. to connect our forces to what they need when they need it. >> to help troops see danger before it sees them. >> to answer the call of the brave and bring them safely home. >> around the globe, the people of boeing are working together to support and protect all who serve. >> that's why we're here. >> this rock has never stood still. since 1875 we've been there for our clients through good times and bad. when their needs changed, we were there to meet them. through the years from insurance to investment management from real estate to retirement solutions.
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we developed new ideas for the financial challenges ahead. >> this rock has never stood still. and that's one thing that will never change, prudential. >> additional corporate funding is provided by norfolk southern. additional funding is provided by the annenburg foundation. public broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. so this is it. the obama campaign says it's winning. the romney campaign says it's winning and to be quite honest we can't tell you whoa's right but tonight we'll lie out the choices. mitt romney looking presidential in a blue suit and teleprompter told thousands of supporters, the next four days count.
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>> the only things that stand between us in some of the best years we've known is lack of leadership. and that's why we have elections after off. this tuesday is the moment to look into the future and imagine what we can do, to put the past four years behind us and start building a new future. >> and barack obama looking presidential yesterday in a bomber jacket in air force one saying romney is not worth the risk. >> after four years as president, you know me by now. you may not agree with every decision i've made. you may be frustrated at the pace of change, but you know what i believe. you know where i stand. you know i'm willing to make tough decisions even when they're not politically convenient. >> let's start by assessing these closing arguments. john, "you know me by know" can work both ways? >> it can work both ways but for
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this president that's not a bad closing argument. he also got a decent bit of economic news with the jobs report, came in about 46,000 over what the consensus forecast had been. and so he's casting this as we're slowly going in the right direction. we're on the right track. we've been through difficult times. and mitt romney's closing argument is we haven't gone far enough and we haven't gone fast enough. they both have reasonable arguments, hence why they're tied in the polls. gwen: we've heard i am the candidate of change. we've heard it more because barack obama made it such a big deal four years ago. and mitt romney is trying to appropriate that. what's even more interesting about this closing argument is after the most negative campaign that we've seen probably in our lifetimes they are closing with a very soft sale to independent voters saying i can break the
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gridlock. it's ok that there are republicans, democrats. i'm going to be the one that can get us beyond that. it's two things, it's to appeal to independents. but another piece of it is the growing realization that congress is going to be divided regardless of who is elected as president and this next president has to deal with a divided government. gwen: i wonder how much of this is about economic development and the jobs numbers can play into that. people are saying they feel good about the economy even though they don't trust the president. >> i see these job numbers as basically being status quo. they can affect things in a big way. the decimal point kicked up one point but the actual job number was a little higher than forecasted. mitt romney has won the economy, not by a huge margin. generally, that's a good thing for a challenger. he's won the issue of
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bipartisan. i think president obama's trying to close some of that ground. but people will say that the ability to capture the center is important to them. they seem to be tilting a little bit in mitt romney's favor. those are good fundamentals. they don't make up, in my mind, as best we can tell for the very formidable electoral college math that is working much more in president obama's favor. gwen: what do you think about that, jackie? >> i agree. we could be looking at, we're all sort of talking and gaming an electoral college victory for the president who loses the popular vote. does anybody really think that's going to happen? >> i do, yes. >> or are you wishing that to happen? >> well, we are journalists. it's certainly possible. and i think boarding towards probably.
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>> the hurricane damage won't affect the electoral vote but it will take some electorals from barack obama. >> it could drive up the popular vote. >> i would say a popular vote split remains small. i must say on the point that amy raised about bipartisan in the promise of bringing the two sides together, that has got to be the one promise that has so thoroughly been proven empty for two presidencies in a row. remember george w. bush was a uniter not a divider. we saw what happened there. and barack obama comes in with the same kind of promise and the political sciences say george bush was the most polarized presidency. it's a condition of life and what obama's hoping is that republicans if he's re-elected
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sort of collapse a little bit in exhaustion and work with him in a short period of time. >> and regardless if it's a popular electoral split, it's going to be close. almost 50% of the country will feel disenchanted with whoever is elected. and the fault lines will be quite amazing. >> let's talk about where we were last week. it felt like there was momentum in mitt romney's direction. where are they tonight? >> there was some momentum still building off that successful denver debate. and then it sort of hit the reality of two more debates after that and the continuing campaign. and i think that this momentum was starting to slow before the hurricane hit. but certainly the hurricane had a piece of this. the fact that the president gets to look presidential. you had him up there with his bomber jacket in air force one.
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>> and chris christie of endorsed hip. -- hymn. >> -- endorsed him. >> we talk about crunching the numbers. john is exactly right that in our own polling and in the other national polls, it is a point one way or the other. 48, 49, whatever. very, very close. but you look at those battleground states and there has not been a poll out of ohio in months that has shown mitt romney ahead. >> yeah. >> and so that's where -- that's why these guys are spending so much time in ohio, wisconsin, and iowa. that's where this election will be decided. gwen: john: >> mitt romney will not be president unless he outperforms the polls if the polls are not capturing the intensity behind mitt romney's superintendent porers or in some way they're exaggerating president obama's support -- gwen: where is the intensity
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right now? is it with the republicans or the democrats? >> we have it equal. in our polls they're equally inspired. that's exactly right. >> republicans think they have an advantage. >> it's dispor portion -- disproportion nat with white voters. african-americans are also pretty energized but latinos which the president is dominating are not. young voters are not. both of those are underperforming in terms of interest in the election and motivation. that's where the president's challenge is. he's got to make sure that he could harvest all the votes that shows up in these polls from latinos and from young voters. >> and gwen, just to follow on amy's point, barack obama sbrang to celebrity status with that speech of not white america, red, america. if he wins he's going to win because he was the president of
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black america, hispanic america, single white women -- overwhelming -- >> if he gets 40% of the white vote -- john kerry got that amount. >> it's not just the fact that president obama is african-american. we're so far from his ideal vision in 2004. in the mid 1930's is astonishing. that's lower than george w. bush won the hispanic vote in 2004. gwen: neither campaign are terribly concerned about that. they just want to win at all cost. do we see any kind -- everybody says it doesn't matter who shows up. as we watch get out the vote efforts an we watch voter disputes and the lawyers being dispatched around the country, is there anything happening that we don't see that doesn't show up in the polls? >> it is the first election since 2004 that's "normal."
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>> 2006 was a wave, 2010 was a wave. everybody saw the same data. and they were disagreing around the margin. now both sides have a fundamentally different view. it's not just these conversations with the campaigns, the presidential campaigns but also talking to republicans who are doing senate races. democrats who are doing their own independent polling. they too are coming up with polls that look like they're from different planets. so democrats, republicans, very different ideas of what this elect tort is going to look like. gwen: let's go gown to ohio where mitt romney is tonight as we -- let's go down to ohio where mitt romney's speaking. is it true that ohio is what all of this turns on? >> i would say yes. right. but we have been surprised so many times in elections.
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and it was in 2004, i remember i was in columbus, ohio in 2004. and, you know, i guess i'd have to predict that the president will win it for the very reasons amy was saying. gwen: ooh, ooh. that's scary. you made a prediction. i've got it on tape. i can roll it back. i wonder if it plays into that demographic divide. is it the example of what we're talking about? >> well, it's actually different -- >> why? >> well, the white vote falls differently in the state of ohio than it does in other places. blue collar whites -- >> the auto bailout. >> the auto bailout, the fact that mitt romney opposed to auto bailout and also his characteristics as a very wealthy financial executive who has been pounded by democratic adds in a concentrated way, that sort of changed the chemistry of that state which the presidents have never won the presidency without winning.
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ohio will be the decisive state. if president obama wins florida, it moves the -- >> i could see florida being -- >> what i heard democrats talk about if they can hold ohio, hold wisconsin, paul ryan's home state, hold nevada, they could lose all other swing states, lose the congressional district in maine and come out with exactly 270 electoral votes. gwen: you add it up that way, john? >> that sounds very powerful. what i am struck by is there hasn't been any mystery about this. if you go further than a year ago, president obama's team was very straightforward. they expected it was going to be mitt romney. they were going to make him very unacceptable. the wealthy and out of touch background. they did that. they had a micro targeted micromessage strategy.
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they said what they were going to do. and stuck to that strategy seems to be with remarkable discipline. if it works, they look really, really smart. the difference between being really smart and really dumb -- [laughter] >> what's remarkable is that they broadcast that, right? >> and the romney campaign never -- or his allies never came up to say, boy, if they're going to do this we should probably define mitt romney. we better define him positively because they're going to dumb all this stuff -- gwen: they had the fuel to do that at their convention, they fell short. >> they did. and they had these super pacs. if you look at the amount of money that has been spent in these battleground states millions and millions of dollars, negative ads against president obama but very little of it defining mitt romney positively when they knew they were going to come after him on bane. gwen: the republican primary that very thing happened. mitt romney's profile is just the wrong profile for the state
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of ohio. but that said, in the southeast quadrant where your appalachia, west virginia, the coal country, they have done a very aggressive job as depicting the president as having a war on coal. if they can get out the vote quite heavily and get out the vote in southeast ohio, it will make a difference. gwen: how about the independents? we were supposed to be watching for the independents and where they were going to go. do we have any sense of that. >> mitt romney has been doing better among independents in many of the polls. the question is what is the nature of the independents an how has the campaign itself caused people to identify themselves with one part or the other and not as independents anymore. so the independents that we're talking about in 2012 may not be the independents that we were talking about in 2008. that gets to some of the disagreement amongst pollsters. it's all about measuring who's a
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likely voter and how accurate those models are going to be. people use different sets of variables to determine who that is going to be. and if the republican analysises say that we're going to see a much closer to even balance between democrats an republicans. that would allow the independents to tilt the outcome of the race, if, in fact, the polls that we've been measuring which shows, three, four, five, six points in favor of the -- him, then romney is in much better shape. gwen: this fiscal cliff -- >> fisticuffs, i thought you were going to say. gwen: well, it could be. what difference would it make depending on who is elected, what happens in a lame duck session which begins the following week? >> it makes so much difference
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that they can't plan for it without knowing who the president's going to be. if president obama gets re-elected, i think, you know, he basically know what is he wants to do. the question is -- how quickly he goes out with a plan. you know, he's got on the shelf his fiscal framework which people will dispute the numbers like simpson-bowles. will he butt that down and tweak it some in a way that gives the concession to republicans to show his good faith, bring it to the table and get something done fast? and in doing something like that getting the bipartisan support to, you know, detrigger this fiscal cliff, all of these spending cuts an tax increases that would otherwise happen at the end of the year? if it's mitt romney who gets elected, i think -- you know, he doesn't have that kind of plan on the shelf. we all know how big his economic plan has been in this campaign. i think there will be -- he will
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ask for and probably get agreement to as they say kick the can down the road. >> assuming the house stays where it is. >> they talked about delaying things for a year to give him time to put down his plan. >> to me the question is if we have an obama victory does senator mitch mcconnell come out chases saying look, it's time to cut the deal? and also what does paul ryan think. he will be the darling of the republicans. gwen: do we think that the well of the executive branch can be unpoisoned? >> i think so. i'm reasonably optimistic about the prospects that -- once we put the campaign 3w450eu7bd us, something's going to happen. it will be easier if obama is re-elected.
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boehner returns as speaker and harry reid returns as the senate leader because they've been in this before. i think president obama would call john boehner. and he would tweak his plan for a concession with republicans. if obama is re-elected, republicans for a brief moment would say, we've got to do a little business with him and then they will move on. gwen: we have to touch on the biggest story of the week which is the super storm sandy. and i wonder in the end -- i know in the beginning i thought to myself, well, in -- only blue states were affected. but i wonder what we saw with christie and bloomberg, whether that at the end didn't reap down to the incumbent? >> probably in a small way.
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small things can have potentially big consequences. >> you think of the opposite of that if they had anything wrong go wrong and the president was seen as not performing as well as he seems to be that would have been a problem. >> and it really threw the romney campaign too. they couldn't quite figure out what do you do in a time of crisis? >> you have to use your background a lot. >> neither was the incumbent. >> it does give a little tail wind to the closing bipartisan argument that barack obama's trying to make just as mitt romney's trying to make it. and meanwhile while barack obama had to cuts back on some of his campaign travel for three days, his surrogate was bill clinton who is about as good as a surrogate to get out there and get the base -- >> they did not stop trying to
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win votes in those states. gwen: this week we saw talk of an expanded map. pennsylvania, minnesota. is that true? >> it's not going to work. they can try it. gwen: republicans are saying we can win pennsylvania. >> do i believe it's tighter than it was earlier? gwen: yes. >> i do. but is it going to shrink fast enough? no. partly because when you think about those states, what do they have in common? the democratics of those states is much -- demographics of those states is much more towards romney. there has been very little work done to sort of laying the groundwork. >> it may be slightly more likely than jim mussina's plan a year ago to expand the map into arizona and georgia, but not a lot more. gwen: the other question i have
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for your guys, is so how late are we going to be up on tuesday? >> i think we'll know by midnight. >> you think? >> yep. >> wow, that is very good. i hope that is true. i don't feel like we've known at midnight for a long time. >> in 2008 we did. but this tracks with 2004 where it's very close ain't comes down to ohio and there are all these rules about provision nal ballots an when they can be counted and how long you can -- i think that the morning of november 7th, we will have an answer. gwen: quickly, jackie? >> i'm going to predict and hope for an early night. i'm not a journalist that likes this much drama. >> yogi bear said predicts are hard especially about the future. but i agree with john, this is going break one way or the other. the dime's not going to land on its side and we'll know by midnight. gwen: that was not even -- >> what about you?
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>> gwen: i will be at this very table and i will be here as long as it takes, kind of. thank you, everybody. we have to go now. we'll be talking about senate races on the web cast extra. that's at pbs.org/washingtonweek. and later tonight, join us along with our colleagues at the pbs news hour line and need to know for a pbs elections special "what's at stake." check your local listings for the time. on tuesday,, join judy and me fr wall to wall pbs news, our special election coverage all night long if that's what it takes and we'll see you next week on "washington week." good night. >> funding for "washington week" is provided by --
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>> wherever our train goes, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern, one line, infinite possibilities. >> corporate funding is also provided by, boeing, prudential financial. additional funding is provided by the annenburg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to pbs stations from viewers like you. contributions to pbs stations from viewers like you. thank you.
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